If you raised your hand at the thought of a safe and inclusive environment for LGBTQ+ individuals to participate in sports, build community and promote healthy lifestyles, you’re in luck, because Rehoboth Beach is home to a local chapter of OutLoud Sports, a pioneer in the field of queer + recreational sports leagues in the U.S.
Founded in 2004, it has grown to become a national organization with chapters in several states across the country. It offers a variety of sports leagues for its members, including basketball, dodgeball, flag football, kickball, soccer, softball and volleyball. The leagues are open to all skill levels and are designed to be fun and social. Members can join as individuals or as part of a team, and the organization also offers opportunities for volunteers to get involved in running the leagues.
After retiring from the U.S. Navy, Jerry DeLair, a Baltimore native who made his way to Rehoboth Beach by way of San Diego, reached out to the owners of OutLoud on a whim about starting a local chapter. He had no idea what he was getting into but dove in headfirst. “I did my homework and found a bowling alley to take us on and a kickball field to host us and that was the start of OutLoud Sports Rehoboth,” he says.
“I just like to bring people together, no matter who you are.”
Today, a scroll through the organization’s website boasts signup offerings for softball, dodgeball, kickball, bowling and pickleball. Plus, a bustling Facebook group of more than 570 members offers countless additional opportunities for friendly pick-up games of beach volleyball and the like. “I had no idea what was going to happen,” DeLair says of the chapter’s growth. “In two years we have six sports, we have put on three benefit drag shows raising over $6,000 for three local nonprofit organizations and participated in the Lewes Polar Bear Plunge as a group. Aqua Grill sponsors both kickball and co-ed softball. We also have a fantastic sponsorship with Crooked Hammock Lewes who hosts our cornhole league and Preston Automotive who sponsors our dodgeball league.”
One of the unique aspects of OutLoud Sports is its commitment to creating a safe and welcoming environment for its members. It has a strict zero-tolerance policy towards discrimination and harassment, and all members are expected to abide by the code of conduct. This includes respecting other members’ identities and using inclusive language, as well as refraining from any form of bullying or harassment.
In addition to the sports leagues, OutLoud Sports also hosts social events and fundraisers throughout the year. These events provide members with the opportunity to connect with one another outside of the leagues and build a sense of community. Some of the events include happy hours, game nights and charity fundraisers. “I just like to bring people together, no matter who you are,” says DeLair.
The organization has also helped to break down stereotypes and promote inclusion and acceptance within the broader community. “It’s a place where there’s no judgment and you can be who you are,” remarks Jeffry Morales Medina, a member of the kickball, dodgeball and cornhole leagues.
Whether you’re gay, straight, or somewhere in between, OutLoud Rehoboth is for everyone. Have some fun, find your tribe and just live out loud.
For more info about OutLoud Sports Rehoboth, go to outloudsports.com.